Finance and Economics Students Win San Francisco CFA Investment Research Challenge


Cal Poly CFA Challenge team

A team of Orfalea College of Business students won the Northern California Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Investment Research Challenge sponsored by the CFA Society of San Francisco.

The students competed against teams from 12 Bay Area universities, including graduate and undergraduate programs from Santa Clara, St. Mary’s, San Jose State, Hult International Business School and UC Santa Cruz. The competitors were charged with analyzing and making buy/sell/hold recommendations for Salesforce.com, a cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco. A panel of industry professionals and CFA charter holders judged the presentations.

Finance students Benjamin Consoli of Redwood City, Adam Pasco of Burbank, Kian Ramezani of San Luis Obispo, Coby Snyder and economics major Mason McCloskey of San Luis Obispo represented Cal Poly. Finance Professor Cyrus Ramezani and finance alumnus Scott B. Kirk served as team advisors.

Cal Poly alumni David Dudek, Aaron Hay, Dario Buechi, Joey Guerra, Stephen Marotto, Alyssa Gustafson and Paul Boortz supported the team by critiquing its presentation prior to the final competition and made time to cheer on Cal Poly.

The Cal Poly team will advance to the Americas Regional competition in Boston on March 19 and 20, where they will compete against 55 universities from the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

More than 5,000 students representing over 1,000 teams from universities in more than 80 countries have been a part of the 2018 competition. It provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company. Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell or hold recommendation and then presents and defends their analysis to a panel of industry professionals.

For more information about the competition, visit http://cfa-sf.org/page/EventsIRC.

Cal Poly Packaging and Design Students Stand Out Among the World’s Best at Global Competition


Teams of Cal Poly packaging, business, and design students received two of the top three awards at the 2017 World Packaging Organisation (WPO) WorldStar International Packaging Design Student Competition that featured innovative package designs from university students from more than two dozen nations.

In addition, two other Cal Poly teams received WorldStar Student Certificates of Merit given to the next 10 highest scoring entries.

The Cal Poly students were honored for designing creative, functional and eye-catching packaging systems for food, healthcare and sports products. The interdisciplinary teams combined industrial technology and packaging students with art and design students to develop a physical prototype of their product complete with branded graphics.

The university’s highest scoring entries were named as WorldStar Student Winners.

The Cal Poly team behind “SticKit,” a two-in-one packaging system to dispense disposable syringes and safely store the empties, was among the top three entries. A pull tab on the bottom of the package dispenses boxed syringes; a hinged-lid on the top of the container can be opened and locked for safe syringe disposal. A plastic divider separates compartments, moving down with gravity as syringes are dispensed until it finally closes the container when all the cartons have been consumed. The entry was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Paul Woodman (Atascadero, Calif.) and Michael Lowe (Pleasanton, Calif.), graphic communications student Dana Shell (San Ramon, Calif.), and art and design students Gina Agapito (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Ashley Vong (San Jose, Calif.).

The other top award went to the team behind “Tea Stems,” an innovative way to package tea. The tea leaves are placed at the end of a cassava starch-based, compostable, stick that makes it easy to stir the tea in the drink without using any utensils. The stems are packaged within a die-cut paperboard folding carton that “blooms” when the box is opened. The package was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Brendan Smyth (San Jose, Calif.), Simeon Comanescu (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Ryan Marrs (San Luis Obispo, Calif.), and art and design students Alexandra Rosado (San Francisco, Calif.) and Lucia Astiazaran (Valencia, Calif.).

Cal Poly’s Student Certificates of Merit honorees included:

“Vera Cruz,” a packaging system for surf wax that integrates a wax comb, a shell that minimizes sun exposure of the wax and a magnetic feature to store a surfer’s car keys. The design is made of injection-molded compostable PaperFoam. Its unique triangular shape offers an ergonomic grip. The dispensing mechanism was inspired by ChapStick packaging, which can contain and reshape a melted product. The package was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Brooke Billmeyer (Solana Beach, Calif.), Grant Badstubner (Danville, Calif.), and Sai Domanico (Hillsborough, Calif) with art and design students Daniel Blenkinship (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Zach Baker (Rocklin, Calif.).

“La Habra” houses avocado oil in a recyclable plastic pouch encased by two molded-fiber shells. The package’s shape was inspired by the shape of an avocado. A pour spout with a drip return prevents the oil from spilling on the package. The product was designed by industrial technology and packaging students Katie Exum (Torrance, Calif.), Michael Moorehead (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and Patrick McCaffrey (Irvine, Calif.), and art and design students Jessica Ferguson (San Jose, Calif.) and Deric Shindledecker (Temecula, Calif.).

The competition considered hundreds of packaging design submissions, including structural design and/or graphic design projects, from award-winning undergraduate and graduate student teams from countries around the world including Brazil, China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand Korea, Oman, Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, South Africa, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom. Cal Poly’s teams were entered into the global competition after sweeping the top four awards at the 2017 Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) Ameristar Student Packaging Competition for the second consecutive year.

The student projects were developed in Professor Javier de la Fuente’s IT 435: Packaging Development class and Professor Mary LaPorte’s ART 437: Graphic Design III class. Professors de la Fuente and LaPorte served as student advisors.

For more information about this year’s teams, visit WPO’s website at http://www.worldpackaging.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3294.

Iris Huang Tackles the Business Analytics Field


Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is giving graduate student Iris Huang the knowledge, skills and connections to succeed in one of today’s hottest fields: data analytics.

Every Chinese New Year, Iris Huang would save the money she received in the traditional red envelopes limned in gold. She remembers being just 6 years old and putting the cash in a cookie jar for safekeeping.

The first-grader had told her class she hoped to be the first in her family to go to college. A boy then snarled at her, “You know that costs like $50,000, right?” That unkind comment was what first spurred her to start saving.

As she grew up, Huang knew she had the grades and the motivation to earn a degree, but she also realized the cookie-jar savings clearly weren’t going to suffice.

“I had always wanted to go to college, for as long as I could remember,” Huang explains. “I studied really hard and did my best in school, but I didn’t know if this dream would ever be achievable because I came from a very low-income household.”

It wasn’t until she met with a high school counselor that she learned about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. “I remember feeling so relieved … Going to college became a possibility because of financial aid,” Huang says.

When it came time to choose a university, Huang knew only that the school would have to be affordable and give her a hands-on learning environment.

She turned to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

The White-Hot Field of Big Data
Thanks to a number of Advanced Placement high school courses under her belt when she arrived at Cal Poly in 2014, Huang was able to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business and a concentration in information systems in just three years.

Now in her fourth year, she’s enrolled in the graduate business analytics program, part of Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business.

“Before [Cal Poly], I never thought I would even go near the tech field. I didn’t even know business analytics existed,” Huang notes. “Cal Poly has its ‘Learn by Doing’ philosophy, which really resonated with me. A lot of our students are conducting and leading their own projects.”

In the simplest terms, big data analytics involves gathering, organizing, analyzing, and communicating copious amounts of information.

“You can analyze basically anything using big data analysis tools,” says Huang. “My favorite part is visualizing findings and uncovering the story hidden in the data. It’s much easier to show a graph to someone who is unfamiliar with a topic versus showing them a bunch of numbers.”

Data analytics — a field the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow 27 percent by 2026 — is so new and quickly evolving that it will almost certainly give Huang her pick of jobs.

“We are learning how to organize data, find insights from the data, and communicate this to executives and key decision makers,” says the 21-year-old.

“You can do pretty much whatever you want with [the degree]. Big data is such a powerful tool.”

Connecting with Industry
If a degree is only as good as its ability to transform your life and your career, there’s already evidence that Huang is on her way to doing meaningful work.

“Getting into the graduate program at San Luis Obispo got me so much more exposure to big data and allowed me to get my foot in the door,” says the first Cal Poly Scholar, a need-based scholarship program, to graduate from Orfalea.

“At the CSU, we as students have so many industry connections available to us,” continues Huang, adding that contacts she’s made have led to internships at Kaiser Permanente and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. At Kaiser, she learned how to diagnose patients using big data by running patients’ lab results through an algorithm written by doctors; the formula could determine who was at risk for certain diseases.

“Sometimes doctors would miss a diagnosis. These projects identified people who would have otherwise been unaware of their illness and helped them get proper treatment,” she explains.

“My parents heavily emphasized education growing up,” says Huang, who also speaks Cantonese and Mandarin and immigrated from China with her parents at the age of 3. “They truly believe education has transformative powers … to make the positive changes in the world you want, allowing you to break out of your socioeconomic situation.”

That message is not unlike the one that has permeated Huang’s time at the CSU: “At Cal Poly, they teach us to not just focus on the technical aspects, but also be sure to focus on your personal values and what you want to get out of your career.”

Learn more about Cal Poly’s Master of Science in Business Analtyics program.

Iris’ article was written by the CSU and appeared as a CSU Profile. Visit the original page.

Cal Poly Student Team Takes Second Place at National Home Builders Competition


An interdisciplinary team of Cal Poly students earned second place at the 2018 National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Residential Construction Management Competition held Jan. 8-10 in Orlando, Florida.

The Cal Poly students, all members of the university’s NAHB student chapter, competed against 33 other university teams, including first-place winner Penn State University, Brigham Young University (third place), and the University of Denver (fourth place).

The NAHB Student Competition, a highlight of the International Builders’ Show, charges students with completing a management project/proposal. This provides them the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real construction company. Proposals are submitted to a group of construction company executives serving as judges. Students defend their proposals to the judges in front of an audience.

This year, teams were asked to prepare a proposal to acquire (or decline to acquire) a 72-arce parcel in Okemus, Michigan. The proposal included a market analysis; product design and selection, site design; cost estimate and schedule; site management and logistics; sales and marketing strategy; financial analysis; risk analysis; and sustainability.

The Cal Poly team was led by construction management seniors and team captains Jeremy Suryadi of Fresno, California, and Jeffrey Hammond of Paso Robles, California. They were joined by architecture students Alexander Gama, of San Diego, California, and Tyler Hall, of Denver, Colorado; business finance students Tyler Ingel, of Carlsbad, California, and Carter Jones, of Encinitas, California; city and regional planning student Eric Martinez, of Rialto, California; and construction management students Abraham Ahmed, of Oakland, California, Sarah De Los Reyes, of Long Beach, California, Thomas Fuentez, of Arroyo Grande, California, Trevor Nally, of Valencia, California, and Jeffrey Phunmongkol, of Orinda, California.

The team was advised by construction management faculty members Scott Kelting and Stacy Kolegraff.

“I’m extremely proud of the proposal and presentation our team created over the course of the competition,” Suryadi said. “The competition is no easy task and truly exemplifies Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing motto. The competition will be remembered as a valuable experience in our education as we move forward with our careers.”

Cal Poly’s interdisciplinary team has consistently placed in the top three spots in the annual competition. The team was awarded third place in 2017, second place in 2016 and second place in 2015.

Photo Information: NAHB Team.jpg — Cal Poly team members (left to right): Stacy Kolegraff (faculty adviser), Eric Martinez, Jeffrey Hammond, Tyler Hall, Alexander Gama, Trevor Nally, Sarah De Los Reyes, Thomas Fuentez, Jeremy Suryadi, Tyler Ingel, Jeffrey Phunmongkol, Carter Jones, Abraham Ahmed and Scott Kelting (faculty adviser).

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business Celebrates Alumni with Inaugural Spotlight Awards


Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business hosted the inaugural Spotlight Alumni Awards in San Francisco on Saturday, January 20. More than 200 alumni, faculty and students gathered to network and celebrate the success of business graduates.

The event included remarks from Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson about the future of business education and how the network of more than 28,000 alumni can shape opportunities for students.

The event established the Spotlight Awards, given by the college’s Dean’s Advisory Council. The honor is given to alumni who have achieved inspiring career success through ethical leadership, innovation and philanthropic work. Alumni submitted nominations to the committee, which selected two winners.

The Green Spotlight Award went to Jessie Becker (Business Administration, ‘11), who co-founded medical device company InPress Technologies. Becker worked as the first Innovation Coordinator at Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship when she helped found InPress Technologies, which manufactures a patented device that stops post-partum hemorrhage in new mothers without medication or surgery. The company has completed first in woman trials in Indonesia and is currently enrolling in their pivotal study in the United States and Uganda.

The Gold Spotlight Award was given to Gary Erickson (Business Administration, ‘80), founder, co-owner and co-chief visionary officer of Clif Bar & Company. Erickson and his wife, Kit Crawford, transformed a small bakery into one of the biggest, privately-held food brands in the world through an expanding line of energy bars, organic foods and drinks. The company now employs more than 1,000 employees across locations in Emeryville, Calif. and Twin Falls, ID. In addition to emphasizing organic ingredients and carbon-neutral power for its facilities, Clif Bar consistently ranks as one of the best places to work.

“Celebrating the success of alumni like Jessie and Gary is the ultimate validation of our mission,” said Dean Dawson, “and is a shot of adrenaline for all of the Orfalea College of Business community.”

Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships for Orfalea International Business Tours sponsored by the college. The 10-day excursions provide international experience to students who many not be able to study abroad. During the event, business senior Brittany Oliveira of San Jose also shared highlights from tours where she learned from business leaders and cultural experiences in China, Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan.